President Obama has tapped Democratic Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to become the new head of the Democratic National Committee. She will replace Tim Kaine, the former Virginia governor, who plans to run for U.S. Senate. Scheduled to have been confirmed by a vote of DNC members earlier this month, Wasserman Schultz is the first woman to serve as DNC chair since Debra DeLee occupied the post in the mid-90s.
“In selecting Debbie to lead our party, President Obama noted her tenacity, her strength, her fighting spirit, and her ability to overcome adversity,” said Vice President Joe Biden in an e-mail to supporters sent the day that Obama selected Wasserman Schultz.
Wasserman Schultz’s previous party organization experience includes chairing the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “red to blue” effort in 2006, when Democrats won back control of the House of Representatives, and 2008, when they increased their edge in the House. In the 2010 cycle, when the party lost the House, she headed the DCCC’s incumbent retention program.
Wasserman Schultz made Florida history in 1992 when, at the age of twenty-six, she became the youngest woman ever elected to the state’s House of Representatives. Now, at the age of forty-four, she is in her fourth term as a congresswoman, representing the state’s 20th congressional district, which includes Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach. She will remain in Congress while serving as party chair.
Wasserman Schultz served as co-chairwoman on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Once Clinton dropped out of the race, Wasserman Schultz shifted her support to Obama and seconded his nomination at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. She has frequently appeared on cable and Sunday news programs to defend the policies of the Obama administration.